The sleeping arrangements for babies are even more important than that of adults. Recent studies have suggested that a 1 month old baby will sleep for between 15 and 16 hours each day and by the time the baby is a year old, then they still require almost 14 hours. It is essential, therefore, to make sure you get the right baby bed.
The first consideration should always be your baby’s safety. Whilst there are numerous regulations for cot manufacturers to comply with, the best guardian of these is the proud parent. Think very, very carefully before buying an old or used crib at a flea market or garage sale. Safety standards are improving all the time and a crib of any significant age will often not reach modern standards. If you want to read more detail then take a look on the National Safety Council website for more information.
The mattress is also an important point to consider. It should be quite firm and fit snugly inside the crib. Gaps between the crib railings and the mattress provide excellent finger traps for the unwary and therefore essential that the mattress fits really well, all the way around. The most common accident statistic in infants is the simple fall, often from a crib or bed. Always make sure that the crib has an effective safety rail which fits all the way around the bed. Some accidents have happened when the child gets its head stuck between a wall and the bed and this often proves fatal if they are not discovered immediately.
There is also some evidence that very soft mattresses have contributed to cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and whilst this evidence is far from conclusive, why take the risk?
Secondly consider the options that the crib has to add accessories such as mobiles and other items that are intended to stimulate the child. This stimulation is extremely important for a child and whatever you attach to the crib should be capable of being secured securely and also be adjustable to keep it far enough away from grasping hands and hungry mouths. The accessories come in all shapes ands sizes with varying methods of attachment so look at what you might want to attach and the fixture method before purchase.
Thirdly consider the type of crib you need. Many have sides that you can slide up and down to enable you to attend to the baby without reaching over the guard rail and exposing yourself to injury. Think also about available storage. Many cribs come with an option of drawers positioned under the mattress and these should come with appropriate safety locks so that the baby is not tempted to explore.
The final aspect is to consider the price and color/style of the crib. Although baby beds are expensive, the best will last a considerable length of time if looked after and don’t forget that it is the place where they will spend most of their time in the early years.